Granny's Kitchen

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Festive Rainbow Cookie Bites December 19, 2015

Festive Christmas Cookie Bites

Three layers of almond sponge cake are put together with sticky apricot jam and topped with chocolate to make these rainbow cookie bites.

 

Ingredients

 

8 oz marzipan
1 cup granulated sugar
10 oz unsalted butter, softened, cut into pieces
4 large eggs, separated
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon green food coloring
1 jar smooth apricot or raspberry jam
8 oz pound semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped small
1 teaspoon butter
Method
You’ll need three 9 x 12 inch rimmed baking tins.
Preheat oven to 175C/gas 4. Line the baking tins with parchment paper.
Combine the marzipan and 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until the mixture is in fine crumbles. Beat in the butter, a few pieces at a time, until well combined. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, until smooth.
Add the flour and salt to the mixing bowl and beat until just combined.

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy. While whisking slowly add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whisk until firm peaks form.
Fold about one-third of the egg white mixture into the batter with a rubber spatula, then gently fold in the rest. The batter should be fluffy.
Divide the batter evenly among 3 bowls. Stir enough red food colouring into 1 bowl to make a deep salmon colour. Stir enough green food colouring into another bowl to make a medium green colour. Leave the third bowl uncolored.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pans, smoothing out the tops.
Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, until the cake is just begining to come from the edge of the pan. Cool completely on wire rack. These are very thin cakes so do not try to remove the parchment paper until the cake is cold or it will break!
Spread half of the jam over the red cake and place the green cake on top. Spread the rest of the jam on the green cake and place the uncoloured cake on top.
Wrap the cake in clingfilm, put a 9 x 12 inch rimmed baking tin over this then put several tins of baked beans or whatever you have on the baking tin. This will help hold it all together. Leave like this overnight.
Remove the cans and the clingfilm.
Melt the chocolate and  butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Let cool for 5 minutes then pour on the cake, using a spatula to spread it to cover the cake.

 

 

Plum and Almond Crumble September 22, 2013

Plums

 

This is fantastic with fresh plums, especially as they are now in season, but you could also use tinned one’s if you wanted. And you’ll love the crumble topping, with almonds and marzipan.

 

Ingredients

 

16 – 20 plums, halved and stoned

3 Tbsp caster sugar

 

For the crumble topping

 

125g plain flour

50g sugar

125g cold butter, cut into cubes

50g flaked almonds

175g ready to roll marzipan

 

Method

 

You’ll need one 2 litre pie dish.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Put the plums and sugar in the ovenproof dish and toss together.

Mix the flour and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until the mixture has the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the flaked almonds, then coarsely grate the marzipan and add it to the crumble mix in 2 or 3 batches, tossing lightly.

Sprinkle the topping evenly over the plum filling and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the crumble is golden and the filling is just beginning to bubble up from underneath the crust. If the topping begins to get too brown before the filling is ready, cover loosely with a piece of foil.

Serve hot with custard or cream.

You can cook the crumble in individual dishes if you like. Quarter the plums and cook the crumbles for about 30 minutes.

If you want to take the skins off the plums first, the easiest way is to put the plums into very hot water for 1 – 2 minutes then straight into very cold water for 1 – 2 minutes and the peel will easily come away from the plum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Christmas Cake November 30, 2012

Classic Christmas

This is a nice easy cake to make if you don’t have the time to be cutting out, shaping & making fondant items to decorate it with.

Just pop to the shop and buy some plastic ones, along with a cake frill to wrap around and a Christmas themed cake board  😉

This is an 8”/21cm cake.

 

Ingredients

 

1 lb (450g) currants

6 oz (175g) sultanas

2 oz (50g) glace cherries

2 oz (50g) candied peel

8 oz (225g)plain flour

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground mixed spice

8 oz (225g) unsalted butter

8 oz (225g) soft brown sugar

4 large eggs

zest of 1 lemon

zest of 1 orange

You will also need an 8 inch (21cm) round cake tin

500g marzipan

500g ready to roll fondant

6Tbsp apricot jam

 

Method

 

You need to start this cake the night before you want to cook it. All you do is weigh out the dried fruit and mixed peel, place it in a mixing bowl and mix in the hot tea. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave the fruit to absorb the tea for up to 12 hours.

Next day pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275°F (140°C). Then measure out all the rest of the ingredients. The treacle will be easier to measure if you remove the lid and place the tin in a small pan of barely simmering water. Now begin the cake by sifting the flour, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl. Next, in a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the butter and sugar together until it’s light, pale and fluffy. Now beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add them to the creamed mixture a tablespoonful at a time; keep the whisk running until all the egg is incorporated. If you add the eggs slowly by degrees like this the mixture won’t curdle. If it does, don’t worry, any cake full of such beautiful things can’t fail to taste  good!

When all the egg has been added, fold in the flour and spices, using gentle, folding movements and not beating at all (this is to keep all that precious air in). Now fold in the fruit, peel and treacle and finally the grated lemon and orange zests. Next, using a large kitchen spoon, transfer the cake mixture into the prepared tin, spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon.  Finally cover the top of the cake with a double square of baking parchment with a 50p-size hole in the centre (this gives extra protection during the long slow cooking).

Bake the cake on the lowest shelf of the oven for 4½-4¾ hours. Sometimes it can take up to ½-¾ hour longer than this, but in any case don’t look till at least 4 hours have passed. Cool the cake for 30 minutes in the tin, then remove it to a wire rack to finish cooling. When it’s cold ‘feed’ it – make small holes in the top and base of the cake with a cocktail stick or small skewer, then spoon over a few teaspoons of brandy, wrap it in foil secured with an elastic band and store in an airtight container. You can now feed it at odd intervals until you need to ice it.

This particular cake has no alcohol in it. You don’t have to add alcohol if you don’t want it.

To decorate, melt 3 Tbsp of jam in the microwave and brush all over the cake. Roll out the marzipan to fit over and around the cake and place onto the cake, smoothing down with your hand.

You now need to leave it to dry, for about least 2 days.

Again, melt 3 Tbsp of the jam. Roll out the fondant, as you did the marzipan. Place the fondant onto the marzipaned cake.

Attach your plastic decorations and cake frill.

 

 

Holly Decorated Christmas Cake November 28, 2012

I made this simple yet effective cake for a friend.

This was made in a 6”/16cm cake tin.

Ingredients

6 oz of softened butter

6 oz brown sugar

3 eggs

½ lb of plain flour (use white flour for a traditional result and wholemeal for a darker cake)

¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda

¼ tsp of salt (this really helps bring out the flavours so don’t leave it out)

1 ¼ tsp ground mixed spice (or a mix of ground ginger, ground cinnamon and ground cloves)

1 ¼ lb mixed dried fruit, soaked overnight in the liquid of choice. For this I used tea as my friend didn’t want alcohol in it.

6 Tbsp apricot jam

1lb approx 500g marzipan

1lb approx 500g white ready to roll fondant

green food colouring

7-inch cake tin lined with greaseproof paper, place the tin on the paper and draw around it to get the right size for the lining on the inside.

Method

Put the dried fruit in a bowl and pour on your liquid for soaking  – no need to measure just keep on adding until the liquid gets to the top of the fruit. Cover tightly with a clean tea towel and leave overnight.

Then when you’re ready to finish the cake, first line your cake tin with greaseproof paper and turn your oven on to Gas Mark 1 (140C or 275F).

Then get another large bowl and add your softened butter and sugar. Give it a quick mix with a wooden spoon, there’s no need to go the whole hog and bash it until it’s properly creamed.

Then crack in your eggs and add the rest of the dried ingredients.

Strain the dried fruit from any remaining liquid and add this into the large bowl.

Give it all a stir until the dried fruit is evenly covered.

You want quite a stiff cake mix at this point, the wooden spoon should stand up unaided in the mix. If the mix is so stiff that you’re finding it hard to get the spoon in and stir then add a swish of saved liquid. But if the cake mix is too sloppy then add a tablespoon or so of flour and stir.

Then heave it all into the lined cake tin and put it in the oven for 3 hours.

You’ll know when the cake is done because the now solidified cake mix will have detached itself from the edge of the tin and shrunk inwards a bit. Also your kitchen will be smelling wonderful.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin, for at least 45 minutes – 1 hour, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To decorate, melt 3 Tbsp of jam in the microwave and brush all over the cake. Roll out the marzipan to fit over and around the cake, I rolled mine into a 12”/31cm circle, and place onto the cake, smoothing down with your hand.

You now need to leave it to dry, for about least 2 days.

Again, melt 3 Tbsp of the jam. Roll out the fondant, as you did the marzipan. Place the fondant onto the marzipaned cake.

Colour the left over fondant green, and using holly cutters, cut out some holly leaves. Attach them with a brush just slightly dampened with water then add the berries.

 

Ladybird Birthday Cake October 25, 2012

 

Create a little animal magic and make this cute cake for a nature lover or gardener. I made it for my Granddaughters 4th birthday.

Serves 10 – 12

 

Ingredients

 

6oz self raising flour

1tsp baking powder

4oz soft margarine

4oz caster sugar

2 eggs

a few drops of red food colouring (optional)

2 Tbsp lemon curd, warmed

1kg/2 1/4lb ready to roll fondant

red, black and green food colourings

5 marshmallows

50g/2oz yellow marzipan

 

Materials and equipment needed

 

1.1L/2pint ovenproof bowl

26cm/10” round cake board

4cm/1 1/2” and 5cm/2” plain round biscuit cutters

garlic press

2 black pipe cleaners

 

 

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Grease the bowl then line the base with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add the margarine, sugar,and eggs.

Beat well for a couple of minutes, add the food colouring, if using.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared bowl and smooth the surface. Bake in the centre of the oven for 55 – 60 minutes. Leave the cake in the bowl for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack, peel off the parchment paper and leave to cool.

Cut the cake in half horizontally and sandwich together with buttercream. Cut off about one-third of the cake and brush both pieces with lemon curd.

Colour a little less than half of the fondant red.

On a work surface lightly dusted with icing sugar, roll out to about 5mm/1/4” in thickness and use to cover the larger piece of cake. Using a wooden skewer or the back of a knife, make an indentation down the centre of the cake for the wing casings.

 

Colour just over half of the remaining fondant black. Roll out three-quarters if the fondant and use to cover the smaller piece cake. Place the cakes on a cake board and assemble the head and body, gently pressing them together to secure.

Roll out a little of the white fondant and cut out 2 circles for the eyes, using the 5cm/2” round biscuit cutter. Stick in position with a little water.

Roll out the reserved black fondant and cut out 8 circles using the 4cm/1 1/2” round biscuit cutter. Stick one on each eye and the rest onto the body with a little water. Reserve the trimmings.

Colour the remaining fondant green. To make the grass put a little at a time in the garlic press and squeeze through. Trim off with a knife. Brush the cake board with a little water and position the grass.

To make the marshmallow flowers, roll the marzipan into a 2cm/1/4” long sausage shape and cut into thin slices. Set aside. On a work surface lightly dusted with icing sugar, flatten each marshmallow with a rolling pin. Snip around the marshmallow to make petals. Press a marzipan circle into the centre of each flower.

Cover about 4” of the pipe cleaners with cling film and insert into the cake between the head and body, make a small ball out of the reserved black fondant and press onto the end of each one. Arrange the ladybird decorations and flowers around the cake.

 

Simnel Cake April 1, 2012

Originally made and given to Mothers on Mothering Sunday.

It was not eaten on Mothering Sunday because of the rules of Lent, instead it was saved until Easter.

The word simnel probably derived from the latin word ‘simila’, meaning fine, wheaten flour from which the cakes were made.

The Simnel cake is a fruit cake. A flat layer of marzipan is placed on top and decorated with 11 marzipan balls representing the 12 apostles minus Judas, who betrayed Christ.

Simnel cake is still made in many parts of Britain today, although it is now more commonly made for and eaten at Easter.

Ingredients

175g/60z butter

175g/6oz soft brown sugar

3 large eggs

175g/6oz plain flour

Pinch of salt

1 tsp mixed spice

350g/12oz dried mixed fruit

55g/2oz chopped mixed peel

1/2 lemon. grated zest only

1 – 2 Tbsp apricot jam

1 egg, beaten for glazing

500g/1lb marzipan

Method

Roll out a third of the almond paste to make a circle 18cm/7in in diameter and reserve the remainder for the cake topping.

Preheat oven to 140C/275F/Gas 1. Grease and line a 18cm/7in cake tin.

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs until well incorporated and then sift in the flour, salt and mixed spice  a little at a time. Finally, add the mixed dried fruit, peel and grated lemon zest and stir into the mixture.

Put half the mixture into a greased and lined 18cm/7in cake tin. Smooth the top and cover with the circle of almond paste. Add the rest of the cake mixture and smooth the top leaving a slight dip in the centre to allow for the cake to rise. Bake in the preheated oven for 1¾ hours. Test by inserting a skewer in the middle – if it comes out clean, it is ready. Once baked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack.

Brush the top of the cooled cake with the apricot jam. Divide the remainder of the almond paste in half; roll out a circle to cover the top of the cake with one half and form 11 small balls with the other half.

Place the circle of paste on the jam glaze and set the balls round the edge. Brush the cake topping with a little beaten egg.

Preheat the grill to high. Place the cake onto a baking tray and grill for 1-2 minutes, or until the top of the marzipan begins to brown. Alternatively, lightly heat the cake topping using a cook’s blow torch, until the marzipan is golden-brown.

 

Apricot and Marzipan Loaf Cake January 22, 2012

Makes 1 large loaf cake. Looking at the amount of ingredients might put you off making this but it really is an easy one to make 😉

Ingredients

For the cake

300g self raising flour

pinch of salt

150g butter, cool and firm but not rock hard

100g caster sugar

100g soft-dried apricots

159g sultanas

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

150ml milk

150g marzipan

To finish

2 Tbs apricot jam

2 Tbs flaked apricots

Also needed

1 900g loaf tin or a 20cm round, deep cake tin (lined)

Method

Preheat oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.

Put the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour, rub in with fingertips until the mixture looks like bread crumbs.

Stir in the sugar. Roughly chop the apricots and add to the bowl along with the sultanas. Beat the eggs with the vanilla and milk, add to the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon to make a stiff cake mixture.

Spoon one-third of the mixture into the prepared tin and spread evenly. Cut the marzipan into 1.5cm cubes and arrange half on top of the cake mixture. Cover with half of the remaining mixture, spreading it evenly. Arrange the rest of the marzipan cubes on this layer. Spread the rest of the cake mixture on top to evenly fill the tin.

Gently bang the tin on the worktop to release any air bubbles.

Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until a skewer comes out clean (it’s best to test in several places, because it’s hard to avoid the marzipan). Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool for 15 minutes before carefully turning out to cool completely on the wire rack.

To finish, carefully heat the apricot jam in a microwave (about 30-45 secs). Brush the melted jam over the cake and scatter the flaked almonds all over it. Leave to set.

 

 
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